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April 1, 2002

Nasdaq's Good News, Bad News

By Gregory Bresiger

Nasdaq had a good 2001, but its fourth quarter was a rocky three months.

Citing problems caused by the Sept. 11 tragedy and by its planned separation from its parent, NASD, Nasdaq lost $13.3 million in the fourth quarter compared to a gain of $10.1 million for the fourth quarter of the previous year. Excluding an extraordinary $21.9 million charge, Nasdaq officials said they would have gained $8.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2001. But even dismissing that charge, net income would still have declined by some 20 percent quarter top quarter.

Nasdaq officials said re-location costs combined with the start-up costs of projects such as SuperSoes and SuperMontage were the reasons for extraordinary expenses.

"We took a number of charges relating to our operating structure and separation from the NASD, accelerated in part by the events of Sept. 11," according to Hardwick Simmons, chairman and chief executive of the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Nasdaq officials emphasized the good news of the year to year number. Net income for the entire year of 2001 was up almost 75 percent compared to the previous year ($40.5 million versus $23.3 million in 2000).

Besides the $23.2 million charge for re-location, Nasdaq also spent $10 million in technology and transition costs because of the separation from the NASD. It also spent $7.4 million in severance costs as it reduced its work force by some 10 percent.